Ultrasound Biofeedback Helps Speech Therapy


Using ultrasound technology to visualize the tongue’s shape and movement can help children with difficulty pronouncing “r” sounds, according to a small study. The ultrasound intervention was effective when individuals were allowed to make different shapes with their tongue in order to produce the “r” sound, rather than being instructed to make a specific shape….

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Word of the Day – Piezoelectric


transducerThe piezoelectric (pressure electricity) effect was discovered by Pierre and Jacques Curie in 1880.  The ultrasound machine’s transducer uses the ‘piezoelectric effect’ to send and receive sound waves that are used to generate ultrasound images. Inside the machine’s transducer, there are one or more quartz crystals which vibrate in response to an electric current and emit sound waves.  When the sound waves bounce back toward these crystals, the process reverses causing sympathetic vibrations in the crystals – which in turn generate electricity that is measured and rendered into the ultrasound image. The process is analogous to the way audio speakers and microphones work.  As a person speaks into a microphone, sound waves vibrate a diaphragm connected to an electrical coil which generates an electrical signal.  When the electrical signal is passed to a speaker, the electrical coil vibrates a larger diaphragm to generate the sound. Besides ultrasound technology, the piezoelectric principle is used in a variety of other applications including musical instrument amplification and generating electricity from human movement.

Ultrasound-Guided Vascular Access: Out of Plane Approach

out of plane approach
Diagram and ultrasound images: Adapted from Chapter 19, Emergency Ultrasound Ed. 2, James Mateer MD, editor

The short-axis or out of plane approach is the technique used to visualize the vein in a cross-section while inserting the needle perpendicular to the beam axis.

In this view, the needle is only visible at the point where it crosses perpendicular to the beam path.  Therefore the entire needle shaft and tip are not seen with this technique.

The vessel is positioned in the center of the screen.  The needle is positioned at the center of the transducer at a 45 degree angle.  Based on the Pythagorean Theorem, the needle punctures the skin at the same distance from the transducer as the depth of the vessel.

For example: if the vein is 1 cm below the skin surface, the needle should puncture the skin 1 cm away from the transducer (toward the operator) at a 45 degree angle (noble, nelson 281).

The needle is seen as a bright dot with a black shadow or reverberation artifact.  The operator must angle the sound beam or slide the transducer to ensure the needle tip (not the needle shaft) is being visualized.

To learn more about Ultrasound-Guided Vascular Access: Out of Plane Approach, check out upcoming that will provide hours of .



Ma, OJ, MD,James R. Mateer, MD, RDMS, Michael Blaivas, MD, RDMS, et al. Emergency Ultrasound, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill: 2007

Noble, V., Nelson, B. Manual of Emergency and Critical Care Ultrasound, 2nd ed. New York. Cambridge University Press: 2011